Need new rear wheel Advice for my Raijin- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    eri
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    Need new rear wheel Advice for my Raijin

    Dear Space Monkeys,

    I bought my latest SS in October, is a 2012 kona raijin. I love it very much, have deeply bonded with it. I will die with it hung over my bed.

    When swapping parts from old SS to this new one I was surprised by the huge the wheels made.

    The old bike had hope hubs, straight 15g spokes, stans crest rims. The new (used) bike had I9 'legacy' hubs, their big fat aluminum spokes, and stans arch rims.

    Both bikes were using Ikon 2.35 setup tubeless.

    Since I had just rebuilt the hope hubs and thought they were pretty sweet, I intended to drop the new I9 wheels on the old bike before selling it. Well... I did a few rides on the I9 wheels and really liked them.

    I really liked the quick engagement of the I9s, but more important I liked how stiff that rear wheel felt and that stiffness seemed to make an appreciable difference to my riding enjoyment. The stiff wheel makes it more controlled to drop weight back and pump the rear through a corner, the hope/crests feel much less settled.

    The hope/crests were light and had a softer ride but the rear felt sort of loose and floppy, either tire roll or wheel flex made the steering feel less direct. Front wheel is no issue, just the rear is what I'm noticing.

    I am very easy on wheels. I've built maybe 10 wheels in my life and never even had one go out of true (unless I drive it into a garage...) I've been happy with light rims and DT revolution spokes (15/18/15) where a well built wheel will sing. I am 6' and ~80kg with pack.

    Now the one thing I can't deal with is how easily the legacy i9 rear hub gets infiltrated by water. During the winter I had to clean out the pawls every 5-10 days which is pathetic and takes time I just don't have. Sometimes I (gasp) had to ride the trainer because the real bike's rear cassette needed cleaning.

    I recently came into a used chris king rear ss hub (symmetrical!) and would like to build it up for winter riding. Question is what Rim/Spokes you all would recommend.

    I would be sad to lose the corner stiffness of the current I9 rear. I think that rear wheel significantly contributes to the cornering awesomeness of my bike, also seems to make it easier to 'steer' while manualing.

    What I don't know is what exactly is causing the stiffness that I like. Spokes? Rim width? Rim stiffness?

    On my 26" bike I have several sets of wheels, currently running some used Sram Rise60 that are light and vertically stiff but quite narrow, they don't have the rear wheel cornering stiffness of the 29er I9 rear. 21mm internal width: tire flex?

    Since I intend this wheel to last forever, I'm happy to spend a bit more if there's a reason.

    I would naturally choose the lightest spokes (Sapim CX-Ray/DT Revolution) - is that a mistake? Do straight 14g feel better than correctly tensioned thin spokes (I think not?)

    For rim choices I see:

    New stans arch for $100?
    DT 421 ~$100
    Something from light bicycle (RM29C19) for $170 + shipping?

    I like my original stan's arch rim because it is so damn easy to setup tubeless. Almost doesn't need sealant.

    So... with all that context:

    What spokes and rim should a smooth riding 80kg ss rider use for his rear wheel?

    Thanks!
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  2. #2
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    straight 15g spokes, brass nipples, and Arch rims

  3. #3
    eri
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    Don't you hate it when you post a question and then all of a sudden your search-fu kicks in:

    I found these two articles:

    https://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel_index.html
    Debunking Wheel Stiffness - Slowtwitch.com

    Summary is that, in decreasing order, wheel stiffness is dictated by:
    - spoke count
    - spoke gauge
    - rim weight (?)
    - hub flange
    - rim width

    The previous hope/crests with straight 15g were not stiff. The current wheel with big I9 aluminum spokes feels really stiff.

    Seems like what I'm feeling is real...

    I'm stuck with 32 spokes. Perhaps the ticket for me is 14g?

    Anyone ridden I9 and noticed the stiffness, and found another wheel that also felt stiff?
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  4. #4
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    I think part of it may be rim design too. The Crest rims have always seemed a little noodly to me over the Arch rims (disclaimer - I'm a clyde SSer with a bit stiffer 32x19 gearing).

  5. #5
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    I also have a Raijin (geared) that I love. I have crests with xt hubs, and they have always been noodles even though I only weigh 150 lbs. It has been fine, but there is a definite lack of precision compared to the i9 torch 245 wheels on my full suspension bike.

    I'd be curious to hear what you end up with. I've been mulling a us.lightbikes wheel set with i9 hubs. Seems like a relative value at $1200.

  6. #6
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    I'm about your weight and recently re-built my King SS hub with C X-ray spokes, brass nipples and Flow MK3.

    Fantastic riding rear wheel. Liked it so much I went with some Hadley hubs and C X-ray spokes for another build.
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  7. #7
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    NOX rims (pick your width) and CXRay spokes. I also thought my Blunt SS setup felt pretty stiff laterally, though that rim is a bit delicate and won't take to any rim strikes or casing.

  8. #8
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    I hand built a set of 29+ wheels for my Jabberwocky over the winter: Profile Elite hubs laced into Easton Arc 45s with DT Swiss Comp DB spokes. Literally the best set of the wheels I have ever ridden. Laterally they are stiff but they feel nice and compliant up and down.

    The Profile Elite hubs are on a whole different level from anything I have ever ridden. If you don't mind a loud hub, 204 poe is very noticeable. It's the most instant hub I have ever ridden in regards to a pawl hub (I don't count Onyx, that's a hole different animal).

    The Easton Arc rims come in just about any width you want. Very solid rim, built up very nicely and I have had zero problems with tubeless or denting on our extremely chunky rock around here.

    DT Swiss spokes... I like to say are the best, but realistically I have ordered Sapim Double Butted from Dans Comp for multiple wheels builds and I really can't tell a difference. I used the DTs on this build just because I spared no expense, but my cross bike which has literally thousands of miles on it is laced up with Sapims.

  9. #9
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    Rim *width* doesn't necessarily determine stiffness, but rim extrusion (wall thickness + shape + material) definitely does. There has never been anything "stiff" about the Crest rims -- they are a weight weenie rim targeted toward lighter riders. The fact that you felt it wasn't stiff, even with a wide-flange SS hub and straight gauge spokes, is direct evidence of this.

    You've given a lot of great info, but you haven't shared which tire(s) you're running (brand, model, size) on the rear of this bike, nor at what approximate pressure(s). Are you using the pump gauge to determine psi, or a hand gauge?

  10. #10
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    You've given a lot of great info, but you haven't shared which tire(s) you're running (brand, model, size) on the rear of this bike, nor at what approximate pressure(s). Are you using the pump gauge to determine psi, or a hand gauge?
    I use a Schwalbe tire gauge. Seems to work well. I returned several gauges prior to this one because they were unreliable imprecise pieces of junk. Generally I run 20.5-22.5psi in the back. I like 20.5 but like some leeway to lose a bit of pressure on a long ride, also for hard strikes, so usually above 21. As pressure rises I lose climbing grip, so thats another limit. Like I said, I'm light on wheels.

    Initially I ran 2.25 nobby nics on the hope/crests, then changed to Ikon 2.25. On the I9/arches I had conti mountain king 2.2, now ikon 2.25.

    The single speed experience is still really new to me, not quite a year. I was surprised to find I liked the I9/arches. Could be the much better engagement, could be the stiffness. I dunno. Qualitatively they make the bike better. Hard to admit it because I can't yet put my finger on why.

    Main fact is that my first rides on the raijin with the i9/arches were awesome rock and roll city, and then I switched to the "better" crests and ride was limp and lame and with 99% less rock and roll. Bike lost its zip and desire to dive over rocks and into steep chutes. Climbing was more ponderous and fatigued. Felt like I had broken spokes (but tension was high.) On a hunch I switched back to the other wheel and suddenly back in rock and roll city. Was unhappy with concept of aluminum spokes but friends assured me they were good, and I've had no issues with them.

    I can't tell why I like the I9/arch wheels. I suppose its something about the wheel stiffness. Wheel feels stiffer. Personally I don't care for custom parts, not able to get spokes easily, but I can't deny the wheel feels stiff and responsive to me. Comfort I think might come from the tire.

    Is interesting that a 'stiff' wheel and low-pressure tire feels great. A 'loose' wheel feels bad no matter what (to me.)

    I wish there were Sheldon brown type lateral wheel stiffness numbers for some modern wheels. Light bicycle or someone could get in on the game, literally advertise some facts. For some reason no one seems to be doing that, rely on innuendo and the psychic power of carbon. And emphasize how durable their rims are...

    I would love to save 200g on the rear wheel. Light rim and spokes could do that. But I wouldn't die if I had a happy bike with heavy back wheel, where I'd be very sad if my new light wheel felt bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    I'm about your weight and recently re-built my King SS hub with C X-ray spokes, brass nipples and Flow MK3.

    Fantastic riding rear wheel. Liked it so much I went with some Hadley hubs and C X-ray spokes for another build.
    This is great to hear. Can you please tell me your bike and what other rear wheels you've used with it? What are your impressions?

    I understand the young's modulus so currently I am not prepared to believe the cx ray spokes have enough diameter to provide stiffness I think I want - the spokes are just too springy. Tell me I'm wrong! Or at least sidle up with whatever your opinion is, more data is good. I have built several sets of wheels with dt 15/18/15 spokes. They were wonderful on my old geared 26ers. I loved the airy floaty feeling in the days before suspension. But I think this SS wants a stiffer wheel because of all the low-cadence out of the saddle.

    I feel like I'm lost in a new city, still gathering my bearings. I have some things I'm pretty sure are facts, but my model is still not general. The 800# gorilla is that my daily fatigue changes so much. Somedays I'm dead, others I'm bored, others I'm a rock star, so who knows how much difference a wheel really makes? I can say for sure that on average my biking enjoyment is about 20x higher on the raijin than on my 26er geared bike, and that I9 wheel was a 2x improvement over the crest. Definitely outside of the noise.

    Now that spokes are off I've sent my hub to chris king for a service, am thinking to have them build the wheel for me. Because what an honor to have a CK wheel. Being risk averse and relying on the data I've found, I think I should stick with arch rim for known stiffness and cost happens to be great. Chris King themselves recommended the arch rim and sapim 14/15 spokes for me, the 80kg ss rider. I want alloy nipples because I've never had a problem with them in 20 years.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  11. #11
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    Gotcha. We all like what we like -- it's good (and somewhat rare) that you both know exactly what you like, and don't care that it's not the same as what everyone else likes.

    Arch MK3 laced with DT Competition spokes to your King hub oughta getcha there.

    You could use CX-Rays or SuperComps or Lasers and probably still be close, but why spend the extra $$ on spokes when the flange width of your hub is the prime determinant of how this wheel will feel, with the rim taking care of most of the rest?

  12. #12
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Yikes! Someone with feet on the ground!

    Curious: Have you tried measuring the lateral deflection of built wheels to see how theory matches practice?

    I'm certainly with you on bracing angle.

    Ok. I did some math. With young's modulus of 210gpa and straight gauge steel spokes the elongation in mm with 5kg weight:

    14: 0.0033
    15: 0.0042
    16: 0.0053
    18: 0.0084

    My 10 gauge I9 spokes are 7075T6, E is 71.7

    10: 0.0038 <- 10g aluminum spoke elasticity is > 15g, < 14g.

    What do you know, elasticity of I9 spokes is on the high side between 14g and 15g steel spokes. Not more than 14g...

    Given those numbers, I think my experience suggests that rim is playing a big part in wheel stiffness. In the case of my crest with 15g steel spokes, seems like the rim really was the culprit (ether that or something else was egregiously wrong with the wheel that I didn't notice.)
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  13. #13
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    I've only measured lateral deflection via a highly experienced "butt dyno". Enough to know that I don't care for the overly "dead" feel of wheels built with straight gauge spokes, nor the usually too lively feel of wheels built with super light butted or bladed spokes.

    Obviously there are more variables than just those at play here.

  14. #14
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    Another bit of anecdotal evidence:

    I had some Arch Race Gold rims (predecessor to the Crest I think?) laced to my AC hubs when I bought the wheels. Light. Amazingly light. With a 2.2 Slant6 on the rear, the tire would rub both sides of the chain stays during out of the saddle climbing. I rebuilt those wheels with wider Arch EX rims and even with 2.3 Purgatory tires on them I never had the tire rub the chain stay again. Even in hard g outs. I was still pretty n00bish back then and wasn't pushing the bike nearly as hard as I do now, so I never really felt like the bike wasn't fun with the floppy wheels on it. It was just noticeable that those wheels weren't stiff by any definition of the word.

  15. #15
    eri
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    Couldnt find an arch locally so ordered a light bicycle rm29c19 rim. Also from light bicycle I ordered sapim race spokes (2/1.8/2) and sapim polyax sils 16mm nipples. 3x. light bicycle recommended the d-light spoke instead (2/1.65/2) but they didnt have my size in stock. Slickoleum on heads of nipples, oil on threads, splurged on a new pro park spoke wrench (super nice!)

    Never had a wheel come together so easily. And that 'cheap' lb rim is beautifully finished.

    Origionally i set by feel and pluck method, then borrowed a tensioner and found i was at only 85kgf. Brought spokes up to 120kgf. Hope the tensioner is accurate, spokes feel dang tight. Hub is very silent and smooth when riding but i miss the slightly faster engagement of the i9.

    Was able to inflate without sealant using floor pump, which is a yuge relief.

    Current theory the wider 25mm internal rim width makes tire feel more plush. Scale says 120g lighter than the i9 wheel, but wheel feels heavier and vibration is much more damped. Doesnt feel quite as 'on point.' And i miss the i9 sound.

    Definately not flexible. This wheel feels like a different thing for me. I'll need to spend more time on it before i have an opinion.
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  16. #16
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    the last time I built a wheel by hand at home, I thought it was fine. then I borrowed a tension meter and discovered that the spokes were waaay below ideal tension. you can feel a world of difference in how a bike feels when you get the spokes up the proper tension after riding with it too low.

  17. #17
    eri
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    Can see how the sidewalls are pushed out, the knobs don't go so far down the side any more.

    Need new rear wheel Advice for my Raijin-file1.jpg
    Need new rear wheel Advice for my Raijin-file2.jpg
    Need new rear wheel Advice for my Raijin-file-2.jpg

    Anyway, I think wheel is lovely.
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  18. #18
    eri
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    Did the fritter 50 last weekend with this wheel.

    1) I perceive that high frequency buzz is... gone. Wheel feels quite smooth and damped. Very quiet.

    2) Rear of bike is now crazy stable. Nature of bike has changed, is a big control improvement over the old Arch wheel. Rear is now very calm through rough rocks/edges. Wheel just goes straight and grips. I had no idea wheel could make such a difference.

    3) I now want a same or wider carbon rim on the front. Because I'd love the same stability in the front.

    I have no complaints, wheel kicks butt.
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  19. #19
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    Wider is better is not just a mantra. Stan's marketing hype is just to sell his outdated rim widths. I have Velocity Blunt 35's DT Swiss XM481's RF Arch 35's and WTB ASYM 35's. I use my i30mm wheels in the rear and i35 in front. All my wheel are built with DT db comp spokes 32 hole, and brass nips.
    I haven't tried a carbon rim yet, since my bikes are fully rigid, just thought it might be too harsh. But I may try a carbon rim soon with I get a shock fork or for my planned gravel bike build.
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